I had the opportunity of viewing five of the six participants competing in the FIBA under 18 tournament in San Antonio. I have gathered some notes on the teams and the players that stood out. Bahamas: The Bahamian team was characterized by athleticism and more athleticism. Many of the players were raw and will need further polishing in the years to come. Without question the standout player for the Bahamas is DAVAUGHN JACKSON , a 6'5'' bruiser on the interior, who apparently is going to John Brown in Arkansas next year. It should be noted that Jackson played high school basketball in Fayettville, Arkansas.
Cananda: Next to the United States Canada has the most balanced of the teams. Having all positions backed up makes the Canadians deep but not necessarily talent laden. The clear cut star on this team is 6'7'' Oluseyi Ashaolu who plays his high school ball at Community Christian in Georgia under Linzy Davis. Ashaolu is a capable scorer that can work in the short perimeter and take you inside with his power game. Another interesting prospect on this team is ROBERT SACRE , a 6'11'' center from Hansworthy Secondary. He has a college build and is a formidable athlete. He does need to get more accomplished during his minutes of play.
If Josue Soto had been here for the Puerto Ricans it might have been another story but as it was; they were not very good. Usually, Puerto Rico is at the top of this age division but this years group falls short in many ways. While Angel Garcia is a talent; he gets nothing done down low and does not defend the post well either. He has the tendency to settle for a slow releasing three pointer which he made on several occasions. BUT, when you have a 6'10'' players you want him to take control of the paint on both ends. The rest of the post play for puerto rico was very soft. The perimiter play was adequate at best, but I was very impressed with AndresTorres , who was a solid contributor at the point and a fiery leader on the court.
This club is truly devoid of interior play and they do not rely on it. Yet, few teams were able to fully exploit them because they are so dominant on offense. The Argentinians can do one thing very well and that is PASS the ball. When you see them play the skill is elevated. The two standouts on the Argentinian team from my perspective were PG Diego Gerbaudo and SG Nicolas De Los Santos. Gerbaudo is a steady, heads up , aggresive point guard with crisp passing skills while De Los Santos has a great deal of flair reminiscent of another guard that plays for the Spurs.
A solid club but lacking athleticism and outside shooting. The Brazilinas have never been known for mass producing guards and this team highlights this fact. The interior play of Paulo Prestes was superb at times. He is a big timer with a great future ahead of him. No doubt will be in Spain soon. Now, the point guard, Marcel Campos, plays his butt off and should be noted as a bright sport for the team and person to build around. The rest of the group is average. I was very dissapointed at the other interior players and perimeter players.
Overall the United States team while not ahead of the others by a mile did posess the depth at each position and the necessary athleticism to be able to win the whole tournament.
FINAL USA - Canada 99-84 The USA repeated as FIBA Americas champions. They overcame their North American rivals Canada in the title game in Valdivia. Markelle Fultz (195-SG-98) stepped up with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the champions. The USA eked out a narrow 48:44 halftime lead. They used a 27:19 run in the third term to boost the lead. The USA sank 24 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Paul Washington (208-C) provided 19 points for the winners. Nickeil... [read more]
USA - Canada 99-84 The USA repeated as FIBA Americas champions. They overcame their North American rivals Canada in the title game in Valdivia. Markelle Fultz (195-SG-98) stepped up with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists to lead the champions. The USA eked out a narrow 48:44 halftime lead. They used a 27:19 run in the third term to boost the lead. The USA sank 24 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Paul Washington (208-C) provided 19 points for the winners. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (195-G-98) answered with 25 points for Canada.
Brazil - Puerto Rico 59-58 Brazil stepped onto the pedestal in Valdivia. They snatched a narrow victory over Puerto Rico to earn the Bronze medals. Lucas Pereira (203-PF-98) delivered 16 points and 16 rebounds for the winners. Puerto Rico recorded a 28:25 halftime lead. They extended the margin at 4-point mark heading into the fourth quarter. However Brazil triggered a 17:12 run in the fourth frame to snatch the win. Michael Uchendu (206-F/C-98) provided 12 points for the winners. Leandro Allende (198-SF-97) answered with 15 points for Puerto Rico.
Chile - Argentina 68-73 Argentina overcame Chile to celebrate the fifth overall position at the championship. Argentina piled up a 42:33 halftime lead. Chile narrowed the distance in the second half but came up short of victory at the end. Leonardo Lema (201-SF-98), Matias Solanas (192-G-98) and Lautaro Lopez (188-PG-99) had 13 points each for Argentina. Felipe Haase (205-F/C-98) answered with 18 points and 6 rebounds for Chile.
U.S. Virgin Islands - Dominican Republic 77-63 US Virgin Islands wrapped up their campaign in Valdivia with victory. They overcame Dominican Republic to earn the 7th position. Nicolas Claxton (201-G/F-99) accounted for 17 points and 7 rebounds for the winners. US Virgin Islands earned a 38:36 halftime lead. They followed with a strong 25:9 run in the third term to clear off for good. Jahmia Simmons (194-G/F-98) produced 16 points and 16 rebounds for the winners. Jose Familia (207-F-98) responded with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Dominican Republic.
USA and Canada enter Final in Valdivia - 8 months ago
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SEMIFINALS USA - Brazil 88-48 The USA advanced into the tournament's championship game. The defending champions eased past Brazil in the semis. Mitchell Porter (203-G-98) finished with 17 points to lead the charge. The USA built a 40:26 halftime lead. They erupted for 33 points in the third term to clear off to a 35-point distance at the final intermission. Jarrett Allen (200-F-98) netted 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the USA. Yago Dos Santos (178-PG-99) and Arthur Pimenta (198-F... [read more]
USA - Brazil 88-48 The USA advanced into the tournament's championship game. The defending champions eased past Brazil in the semis. Mitchell Porter (203-G-98) finished with 17 points to lead the charge. The USA built a 40:26 halftime lead. They erupted for 33 points in the third term to clear off to a 35-point distance at the final intermission. Jarrett Allen (200-F-98) netted 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the USA. Yago Dos Santos (178-PG-99) and Arthur Pimenta (198-F/G-98) produced 7 points each for Brazil.
Canada - Puerto Rico 83-66 Canada raced into the FIBA Americas Championship Final. They fired past Puerto Rico in the semifinal clash in Valdivia. Lindell Wigginton (187-PG-98) produced 22 points to pace the North American side. Canada recorded a 45:28 halftime lead. They exchanged baskets with Puerto Rico throughout the second half and cruised to the victory. O'Shae Brissett (203-SF-98) delivered 18 points and 8 rebounds for the winners. Jhivan Jackson (182-G-98) responded with 15 points for Puerto Rico. Jesus Cruz (195-F/G-98) had 13 points in the loss.
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